Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by JJWilson, Oct 15, 2017.
I was actually invoking my inner Blutto from Animal House.
In the interest of keeping this good discussion going and to stimulate deeper evaluation of the subject I'll pose a question.
Given todays potential, obvious threats, we could possibly have high intensity conflicts with North Korea, Russia, Iran or China. What mix of next generation fighting vehicles, or set of characteristics would you seek to meet these threats if you were the US Army and Marine Corps? We are currently engaged in low intensity operations around the world. In the foreseeable future these type of operations will be necessary and will likely increase. What mix of vehicles would you choose to meet the threats of the smaller, poorer, nations with primative infrastructures? There are not unlimited funds available and you need to consider the logistics requirements involved, sea lift, airlift, forward basing, pre-positioning etc.
Any force that can come close to addressing say the Russian threat in Eastern Europe should have no problem with Iran. I hope the US is smart enough not to get engaged in a major land conflict in Asia with China, which IMO is the high end of the threat spectrum. A force with a reasonable chance of coming out of such a conflict with a win is probably not affordable. (That's not to say a war with China is unwinnable just that how and where to fight would have to be chosen carefully.) That said confronting Russia in Eastern Europe might be a conflict to focus on. (Do we want a separate thread on this?) In relation to this people may want to take a look at this article:
Winning: The Best Tech Is Not The Answer
Logistics will play a big role in any of these as will the likely duration.
I am not a military expert by any means, and I'm not going to pretend I am but here is how I feel about the current U.S military's projects. The Navy would get utterly demolished by China because none of our ships have sufficient weaponry besides surface-to-ship missiles. The F-35 is trying to do the jobs of 5 other aircraft at the same time, and the technology is fragile and complex, so half the time they are grounded (Just a few moths ago F-35's were grounded at Luke AFB). A few really good tanks, aircraft, ships, or whatever, will get destroyed by dozens upon dozens of cheap and basic tanks, aircraft, and ships. It's the whole 10 Sherman tanks versus 1 Tiger tank. 8 Sherman's get destroyed, but the Tiger gets destroyed too. The Sherman's can be replaced, the Tiger can't.
It encourages me that the Marines were forward thinking with regards to an armored breaching vehicles after the Army canceled Grizzly...just in time to run into the most serious mine (I hate the whole XYZ-IED bullshit by the way, especially after working pretty closely with the issue for three years - its a mine, which has been around as a military threat for centuries in various guises - so call it that instead of some innocuous amalgam of letters designed to mask the sheer incompetence of a leadership completely unprepared to deal with it) threat since WWII in Iraq and Afghanistan. It discourages me that they are still trying to find a better amphibian - technology is only going to go so far in that respect.
I can only shake my head at the Army's miserable excuse for leadership, resurrecting idiocies like lightness for the sake of lightness (the Marines seem to have finally taken a lesson there and are better integrating combined arms now than they have since WWII) and pretending our magic gizmos will always defeat the other guys use of simple combined arms tactics with more numerous and heavier armor and artillery. If we run into a situation where their ADA is good enough, then we are well and truly fu$5ed...or at least the poor guys left hung out to dry will be.
The Army needs to get its act together and stop pretending that every future war will be like Iraq/Afghanistan and that we don't need no stinkin' combined arms no more. The JLTV is no more useful in and by itself than the HUMVEE...and GCV was set to be yet another way of getting General Dynamics stock to rise. "Light" has its limitations. So does "heavy", which is why we have to have both on the shelf and a reasonable doctrine on how to use each. Pretending that one can do the job of the other in all circumstances is idiocy, but seems to be what passes for strategic thinking the Pentagon. At least they are not talking weight limitations on the NGCV...which probably means it'll end up at 100-plus tons with LAZERS!
Gee, maybe I am bitter.
Our navy is still far superior to that of China. We have more planes than just the F-35 as well.
The Air Force is pushing for the F-35 to take the role of the Harrier, A-10, F-15, and F-18 in the Future. As for the Navy I think we might have superior ships and Aircraft carriers (China has 1 I believe?) but I'm worried the Chinese will just make more ships canceling out the superiority factor? As for the Air force, If it ain't broke, don't ix it. If it works, don't replace it. Once again just my opinion, I have no experience or education in tactics or strategy, I just use what I have read and heard.
The navy is also working on drone attack craft and the various flavors of F-35 very considerably.
As for "If it's not broke don't fix it" would you have wanted to fight WWII with the military from the ACW?
My don't fix it comment was meant to be that drastic , I really say that when the military funds new and expensive projects to replace machines and weapons that already do the job well while still maintaining a modern edge. I point out the F-35 because it hasn't really been all that reliable, and the F-15's, F-16's, and F-18's are all more than capable of fighting modern air forces to this day. The A-10 is getting older, but it is still the best Anti-tank /CAC aircraft the Air force or any Air arm today. The U.S military will be using B-52's well into the 2050's and C-130's potentially beyond the 2060's. Until the need arises, there is no need to mass produce expensive fighters, ships, and tanks. When a true all out war comes about then they can build more and test them, while mass producing the more reliable less expensive weapons and machines.
Has the F-35 reliability really been that bad?
Some articles you might want to look at:
Murphy's Law: F-35 Users Report
Murphy's Law: Complexity Can Save Your Life
Naval Air: MQ-25A, The F-35 Replacement
Legacy 4th Gen aircraft will have soon become unsurvivable against integrated air defenses incorporating modern radars, SAM and AA batteries, and fighters. Most air force officers have already concluded that Clinton-era "No Fly Zones" are a thing of the past. For example, Marine Gen. John Davis told the Congress in a hearing about Red Flag 17:1 that legacy aircraft simulating an attack on high grade threats usually got torn to shreds for their troubles. The need for the F-35, I would argue, is urgent.
On the topic of AFVs, the reported upgrade to Strykers with remote 30mm turrets seem to make sense. Is there going to be a US response to the Russian T-14?
a lot of countries still use the scorpion.
Drones, autonomous and semi-autonomous.
Advances in software, artificial intelligence, and remote sensors today is so hideously fast, that making survivable cabinets (NBC-resistent) for highly-skilled (and trained at great expense) humans to travel around in and shoot other humans will be far too costly. Compared to highly capable, expendable drones.
I think "grey area" items always have an identity crisis.
Light tanks have, sadly, outlived their purpose. There were made to be quick maneuvering units and armoured reconnaissance units of which both roles are filled by cheaper vehicles such as Main Battle Tanks which are faster or just as fast as most of the old light tanks and armoured cars that are cheap and light scouting units. The only case in which they do have some use is for some poor nations who are unable to acquire a Main Battle Tank or are unable to maintain one making the Light Tank a cheaper choice.
I think they also have a use in some countries for police work. I visited a country in South America once and there was a APC at every major intersection. I asked my escort about it and he kind of shook his head, it took him a minute to actually "see" them again after ignoring them for so long.
"Oh, that. We have our elections this week." Good enough explanation for me.
"We have a bank robbery at Tornu Avenue, bring in the M41 Bulldog."
At least some of the Mk. I panzers were turned over to the polizei in the occupied territories.